A miter saw is a highly specialized tool with one primary function: making angled crosscuts. But you may be wondering how much of a difference there is between a 10″ vs 12″ miter saw.
Interestingly, there are some major considerations to think about.
While a 12″ miter saw is more efficient and has a larger cutting range, a 10″ saw has a larger blade selection and produces quicker, smoother performance. Cost is another important consideration, with 12″ miter saws being significantly more costly to purchase and maintain.
What Can A Miter Saw Be Used For?
Let’s look at what a miter saw does before we get into the differences between a 10″ vs 12″ miter saw.
A miter saw is normally used in a stationary position. Larger miter saws are typically fixed to a stand or on a miter saw workbench, but smaller miter saws can be moved around to be closer to your workplace. This is not the same thing as the chop saw.
Miter saws are able to cut through plastic, some metals, and wood, depending on the blade you use.
For better precision, the item is normally placed by a fence where the circular blade works through it in a short, controlled motion. The blade is raised, the item is repositioned, and the procedure is repeated.
The angle of the blade with regard to the fence can be adjusted and varies a lot. Some miter saws let you change angles by 10 each time, whereas others allow only to make preset cuts like 150, 300, or 450.
There are two types of saws available: sliding and non-sliding.
Differences Between 10″ vs 12″ Miter Saw
Although a 10″ and 12″ miter saw perform similar tasks, there are a few differences to remember if you’re in the market for one. Of course, a 12″ saw is bigger than a 10″ saw, but the difference in size has a greater impact on results than you can imagine.
Let’s take a deep dive into what distinguishes them in order to determine which one’s the best fit for you.
Pros Of 10″ Miter Saw
A significant advantage of a 10″ miter saw is its speed. What is the reason for this? It’s science!
The teeth rotate faster on a smaller blade since the radius is smaller. Blades that spin faster cut through the application faster and leave smoother edges.
Furthermore, a 10″ blade is more balanced, resulting in a precise and straight cut. Basically, if all other factors are equal, a 10″ miter saw would show better performance.
There’s also the matter of cost to consider. The 10-inch option would be substantially less expensive if there were a 10″ and 12″ blade manufactured by the same company and made of the same material.
To put it into perspective, the larger blade can be more than half the cost of the smaller one.
The savings, however, do not end there. Sharpening a 10-inch blade is less expensive, and so maintenance costs would be lower over the long haul.
Cons Of 10′′ Miter Saws
There are, of course, some drawbacks.
The cutting power of a 10″ miter saw is nowhere near that of a 12″ saw. This can be a challenge if you are planning on working with materials thicker and heavier than 4x4s.
An important factor to consider before purchasing a 10″ miter saw is the kind of projects you plan to do. A 10″ is ideal for working on trims or similar tasks, but it won’t be effective for larger projects involving thicker materials.
Pros Of 12″ Miter Saws
A 12″ miter saw is a better option if you work on large cutting projects.
They have a bit more strength and can handle large chunks of material since they are bigger saws. While a 10″ miter saw would fail to cut something thicker than a 4×4, a 12″ miter saw will easily cut a 4×6 in a single pass.
Because of the improved strength and slightly slower spinning blades, 12″ miter saws are better at cutting hardwood and difficult-to-cut surfaces.
They work particularly well with laminate and plywood. They’re also sturdier and they’re designed to do more demanding work, so they could last a little longer compared to a 10″ miter saw.
Cons Of 12″ Miter Saws
In terms of saws, powerful and more efficient means more expensive, and a 12″ miter saw will cost you significantly more than a 10″ miter saw of comparable quality. These saws also consume more energy, which could have an effect on your hydro bill.
Blades are not only more expensive, but it is also difficult to find them, so you won’t get many options. Perhaps, if you need a particular blade, there will most likely be a delay before it arrives, and it’ll certainly be expensive.
12″ miter saws are generally expensive to operate and maintain, so if cost is a consideration, this may not be the preferred option.
Size is also something to think about. The majority of the 12″ saws would require the use of a miter saw workbench or stand.
Although it’s not completely accurate to call 10″ miter saws “portable,” they can be moved to another workstation to make them easily accessible. Since a 12″ saw is harder to transport, you’ll probably have to carry the materials towards it.
Other Factors To Consider
Obviously, there are more factors to consider along with the price when it comes to blades.
Blades used in a 10″ miter saw are more common since they are readily available. For instance, you will find a wide range of blades at the local hardware shop, which includes everything you’ll need for a project.
And here’s the kicker: a table saw would also take in 10″ blades, so if you own one, you can swap blades between the two saws.
However, you’ll have to search harder for 12″ blades, and when you find them, they’ll be more expensive. The cost of purchase, sharpening blades, installing new blades, or even the energy used to operate it are all less costly with a 10″ miter saw.
Finally, when it comes to the saw per se, a 10″ saw needs less room on your miter saw workbench and is easier to store and transport than a bigger 12″ saw.
The 10″ saw is a better option if you want something that is small and portable. These are commonly used on battery-powered miter saws.
10″ vs 12″ Miter Saw – What Miter Saw Should You Choose?
The main reason why you should look at purchasing a 12″ miter saw is for tackling larger projects. If you need the strength and cutting capability that a 12″ saw provides and aren’t concerned about the price, it’s a good investment.
However, some 12″ models allow for the use of both 12″ and 10″ blades. You get the best of both saws with this choice. It has the power when it is needed, but when you don’t, it has all the advantages of a 10″ saw.
If you don’t mind the higher upfront cost, this is a nice compromise, but not necessary if you don’t plan to handle a big project at some point.
A 10″ miter saw is the best choice for the average carpenter. They save you money regardless of how you go about it.
To begin with, they’re cheaper to buy, the blades are less expensive to purchase and sharpen (and readily available), and they don’t need as much electric power to work, resulting in savings on your hydro bill.
You might also be interested in checking out the comparison guide for band saw vs scroll saw.